60-second interview with Luca Tomasi

Luca Tomasi, 24/5/2017

Luca Tomasi TEP is director, HSBC Private Bank, DIFC Branch, Dubai.

How and why did you get involved with STEP?

I first joined the Society in Guernsey in the mid-1990s. From my early studies in the financial world I developed a particular interest in wealth planning through trusts. In 2001 I transferred to Luxembourg, and finding a number of like-minded individuals, we set up a Luxembourg Chapter, which eventually became STEP Benelux.

What benefits has it brought you personally, or in your business?

Being part of a wide network of people who share a real passion for wealth planning and intergenerational family structuring has helped me grow as a professional. As an active committee member for many years, I found I could build my network still further.

You were recently given a Founder’s Award. What does this mean to you?

Being nominated for this award, and receiving it was totally unexpected. I’d held a number of positions in the committee and faced some challenging times over the years, so to be recognised as a valuable member of the Society is a great honour.

I was fortunate to be able to serve on the committee from the very beginning, and for the last three years as chair, and I’ve always been extremely well supported by a committee of highly motivated, selfless professionals who are totally focused on the Society’s standing and reputation.

What is the most important thing STEP does, in your opinion?

STEP’s involvement in advising and guiding regulators in implementing new policies remains key.

Its work in continuing education for the professional community is also of utmost importance to ensure members remain up to date with latest industry trends, and ultimately benefit clients.

What would you say to other members who are thinking of getting more involved with STEP?

STEP’s membership growth and the Society’s standing in the professional community needs little introduction - the importance and quality of the education programme is second to none and it’s essential for any new member to embark upon it, starting with the basics and moving on to the professional qualifications through its partnership programme.

A STEP member is part of a large community of professionals willing to help one another; new members, students or full members alike are made extremely welcome.

What do you feel are the main challenges facing your branch or region at the moment?

The challenge we faced at the outset was to get acceptance as new entrants in a jurisdiction clearly predominantly focused on civil law matters, even though the professional community was familiar with the uses of trusts and wealth planning.

During my tenure as committee member we devoted much time on expanding our membership in all three jurisdictions, which I believe was a success. The committee's work continued in parallel to raise STEP’s profile in the industry within the region. These challenges and efforts continue to this day with our new board.

How are you planning to deal with them?

I have now moved to a different jurisdiction, STEP Arabia, which thankfully has a very active STEP network.

Our new Benelux branch chair, Louise Benjamin, is spearheading the inaugural STEP BeNeLux Conference this September, where it is envisaged that members from around the globe will raise awareness of STEP in Luxembourg and to demonstrate the Society’s credibility to the region’s authorities.

The conference will consider aspects of structuring through Benelux with a focus on Luxembourg. Many UHNW families are already familiar with Luxembourg as a safe and well regulated jurisdiction through which they can undertake sophisticated planning.

The conference will also look at Europe’s external borders, so perhaps challenges faced by America, Asia and the UK in Europe and will address some of the hot topics such as the EU succession regulation, the future of international financial centres, Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), trusts in civil law countries, and registers of beneficial owners.

Luca Tomasi TEP joined HSBC Private Bank in the UAE in 2016 after working in Luxembourg since 2001. He initially qualified as an investment advisor through the Securities and Investment Institute, then as a wealth planner through the STEP International Diploma and also holds International Compliance Association qualifications. Luca’s role in STEP Benelux started as a committee member moving on to Secretary, a period of time as Treasurer, Vice Chairman and Chairman.